David Cairol ADD


Album Review: David Cairol - Vers(e)


by Gardy Stein

Album Review: David Cairol - Vers(e)

David Cairol is a name y'all better get familiar with, because this man is definitely an artist on the rise. Not only is he a beautiful person inside and out, actively socially engaged, incredibly talented and well-connected, but his voice sounds so close to Bob Marley's that even Judy Mowatt remarked on the eerie resemblance, suggesting David as the lead singer for the Bob Marley Tracks project.

That's not what we'll talk about here, though; the focus is on Cairol's new album Vers(e). The complexity of this release starts with the title, as “verse” can either mean “part of a poem or song” or, in French, “well-versed” (“versé”), “I pour” (“je verse”), “green” (“vert”) or “towards” (“vers”).

Produced in close collaboration with Matthieu Bost, the 11 tracks showcase a crazy amount of musical genius, from Sly Dunbar on drums via Bongo Herman and Hector "Roots Percussionist" Lewis on percussions to Earl "Chinna" Smith on guitar. Sadly, contributors Winston "Bo-Pee" Bowen, backing vocalist Dalton Browne and co-producer Sam Clayton Jr didn't live to see the release of this work, but their influence can be heard and felt throughout, especially on the skanking Last Bus, an instant favourite. It was both the first song recorded at the prestigious Mixing Lab Studio in Kingston, and the first video released.

Other tracks out on video are the marching Grow In, the touching Music, highlighting David's warm, on-point vocals, and Hope Road, a stirring autobiographic tale of Cairol's own musical journey. And the featured tracks, of course, which are a joy to watch and listen to!

First and foremost, Building Bridges combines three grand vocalists on an equally magnificent instrumental with contributions by "Winta" James on keyboard, "Bo-Pee" on guitar, "Danny Bassie" on bass and "Bam" on drums. The result is a beautifully intense, decelerated Roots riddim on which singers David, Brinsley Forde (Aswad) and Var (Inna De Yard/Pentateuch) unfold their magic. Less rootsy, more modern in beat, the heartening carol Heartcore (pun intended!) was the perfect fit for Jamaican newcomer Rik Jam (Irie Yutes), another artist to look out for.  

How exactly David convinced this queen to feature on Echoes From The Jungle I don't know, but Judy Mowatt OD can be heard on the Nyabinghi-influenced track, flowing on her signature Black Woman melody. Impressive!

Another song we have to talk about is Banan Banan, a first in many ways. Crafted on a Nyabinghi beat as well, it's the only Reggae song I'm aware of that's sung completely in Basque, the mysterious language of David's home. He is joined by a 17-voice-strong choir from The Nexus Performing Arts Company, who sang Basque lyrics certainly for the first time in their lives. An amazing contribution to linguistic diversity, and a very poetic way of talking about unity… we are all watching the same celestial bodies!

With Vers(e), David Cairol has managed to find an appropriate expression of his deep devotion to Reggae music. Rich in variety and talent, this release pays homage to the masters of their craft, the instrumentalists who've been around from day one. We need more releases that preserve their skills for posterity! Merci et chapeau, David.

Release details

David Cairol - Vers(e)


Release date: 04/14/2023


01. Hope Road
02. Building Bridges feat. Brinsley Forde & Var Hillsman
03. Morphed Faces feat. Rik Jam
04. Echoes From The Jungle feat. Judy Mowatt
05. Banan Banan
06. Grow In
07. Last Bus
08. Running Out
09. Heartcore
10. Turn Up The Stereo
11. Music

Featured artists

Brinsley Forde / Var / Rik Jam / Judy Mowatt